Agri Business

Tea Board suspends Paramount Tea Marketing co

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

Tea Board Coonoor has served a suspension order on Paramount Tea Marketing (SI) Pvt Ltd for breaching the provisions of the Tea Marketing Control Order, 2003. Per the order served on Friday, the tea brokering company cannot sell teas at any of the registered auction centres in South India for a period of three months.

According to the order, on June 12, 2019, officials of the Board on inspection at Nilgiri MG Tea Industry, Sholur Village in Ooty, came across four barrels of food colour (Tartrazine) and other adulterant materials stored in a room apart from some new sandwich bags with Swamy & Swamy Plantations Pvt Ltd (High Field Tea – CTC) imprinted on them.

An inspection of Swamy & Swamy Plantations later that day revealed that the factory had not been in operation since January. The Board officials learnt that the factory was leased to Nilgiri MG Tea Industry, and movement of teas to the auction was happening regularly in the name of Swamy & Swamy Plantations (High Field Tea Factory).

When the team visited the Evergreen Warehouse in Coonoor the following day, it found 31,260 kg of made tea in 1,042 bags, invoiced on Swamy & Swamy Plantations Pvt Ltd, Coonoor (Highfield Tea Factory). They forwarded the same to the CFTRI Lab in Mysuru to see if they conformed with FSSAI norms.

On September 27, the CFTRI confirmed the presence of added colouring matter in the samples.

In response to a show-cause notice from the Board, Paramount confirmed that it sold the teas from Swamy & Swamy Plantations under the “Highfield” mark and that their tea tasters were not able to find any taste indicating adulteration.

‘Misrepresentation of material’

The Board, while recording the deviation, highlighted the violation of paragraph 19 (1) (c), (d) and (g) of TMCO 2003 with reference to misrepresentation of material fact, violation of the provisions of the Act and the manner of operation of the brokering firm in not conforming to the guidelines/ norms stipulated by the Licensing Authority.

“This is a significant and bold move, in the interest of the industry,” industry insiders told BusinessLine. It is learnt that Paramount deals with close to 50 per cent of the trade volume every week.

Published on October 21, 2019
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